Review published on March 15, 2017.
My second child (a second boy) is due any day. I’m usually not one for parenting books, since there is so much conflicting information out there that you can feel like nothing you do is right. But I did like the idea of enjoying a light read (audio in this case, read by the author) about a woman’s journey in motherhood, similar in age to me, with two boys.
Alright, I’m not married to a musician and writer, and I haven’t (as yet anyway) written bestselling fiction, but I know Ms. Fletcher by reputation and knew I wasn’t about to be preached at.
This was a really refreshing book to listen to just before giving birth. Giovanna has a very friendly and warm voice, full of energy and humour, and she tells the anecdotes about her parenting life with vigour and a lot of honesty.
I’m not a reader of her fiction, or a particular fan of McFly/McBusted, so I came to this from the perspective of an interested fellow parent, ready for a giggle, happy to hear of the woes and wonders in the life of another mother.
This is full of both. I was very glad this didn’t ever descend into a celebrity name-checking exercise or a memoir of a celebrity. While Ms Fletcher may not have the life or family of most of us, she really doesn’t talk about experiences that aren’t universal.
I liked the format, from the trials of trying to become pregnant, to the realities of pregnancy and labour (as well as its after-effects on a mum’s body), she then takes us through her life as a first-time mum, her insecurities, failures and successes.
The milestones were familiar: what to choose with regards to feeding, how to wean, trips with a small child, toilet training, preparing for a second sibling, worrying about a post-pregnancy body. Giovanna is an entertaining storyteller and I loved the ‘rod for our own back’ moments (some of which sounded familiar, some I’ve so far avoided … we’ll see!).
The author manages to talk about her husband, father to both boys, a little, though it’s really the view of a mother she shares. Sometimes the detail of her sons’ feeding and sleeping patterns felt a little too much, as every parent is apt to share at times, but on the whole, she does give a new parent (or one looking to feel comradeship) a full picture of the first few years of parenthood.
I laughed and felt nostalgic for my own six-year-old’s early days, and I started thinking about the journey I have ahead with my own Baby Number Two.
One thing Giovanna has reminded me is not to worry about my own body over the next few months, and to not worry about other peoples’ opinions of my parenting decisions. They are YOUR kids, yours to cuddle and love, cry over and make memories with. The author’s love for her family comes through very clearly and this book is a celebration of her own parenting as well as a call for all mums and dads out there to enjoy their children and the good AND bad moments.
Katy Noyes 4/2
Happy Mum, Happy Baby: My Adventures into Motherhood by Giovanna Fletcher
Coronet Audiobook Feb 2017
SECOND OPINION: The Wild Other: A Memoir by Clover Stroud
Wellcome Book Prize 2017 shortlist: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
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